To save wear and tear on his team's tired pitching staff, Caleb Bounds earned his team-record 13th career pitching victory with six 2-hits, 1-walk innings in 15-0 home rout of non-league Springfield Redbirds
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — “Actions speak louder than words,” goes a generally-accepted behavioral observation.
The coming two weeks – the final ones of their regular season – will determine whether that applies with the 2018 Chillicothe Mudcats pitching staff.
The team’s head coach and all-time winningest pitcher, Caleb Bounds, repeatedly has voiced to his moundsmen that, if they’d throw more strikes – particularly early in at-bats – and thus reduce the incidence of walks and hit batsmen, the pitchers and team would enjoy improved results.
Friday night at “June” Shaffer Memorial Park stadium, with the Mudcats’ shorthanded hill staff physically worn down by the number of pitches and appearances its members had made, Bounds took the occasion of the season’s final non-league game to both give them a respite and turn from verbal instruction to demonstration.
Owner of 12 career wins in the Mudcats maroon-and-black during a playing career which spanned from 2014-16, Bounds put himself on the bump at the start of the game against the Springfield Redbirds and literally showed his charges how to do what he had told them.
He threw six innings of 2-hits ball with only one base on balls – in his final inning of work – and no hit batters to unexpectedly hike his team-record career wins total to 13 in a 15-0, 7-innings victory over a squad Chillicothe had barely edged in walk-off fashion a couple of week earlier.
Friday’s victory pushed Chillicothe’s season record to 12-19 entering a 3-games home series Saturday, Sunday, and Monday against their last-place counterpart from the MINK League’s South Division, Joplin. Joplin’s Outlaws took two of three from the Mudcats in southwest Missouri last month.
Bounds not only was effective ultimately Friday, he was dominating. Once he scraped off some competition “rust” in the first couple of batters, he needed only 79 pitches in his six innings before Nate Gawelko finished up the shutout.
The Springfield team advanced only one man as far as second base against the Chillicothe coach, who came to the Mudcats from Savannah via North Central Missouri College on a fill-in basis five summers ago and has become one of the most-accomplished figures in the team’s 17-years history.
While the Mudcats’ head coach, working at a rapid pace, was in command from the start, the latter half of his outing was made far, far easier when Chillicothe nuked three Redbirds pitchers for a team-record 14 runs in the bottom of the third inning.
While Nico Burgarello rifled a bases-full triple up the alley in right-center field and recently-added Preston Ludwick singled home two runs to headline the huge frame, most of Chillicothe’s damage stemmed from Springfield shortcomings.
The inning included two errors, eight bases on balls, and two hit batsmen on top of five Mudcats hits. Were it not for a dropped throw at first base on a routine play on the very first batter of the Chillicothe third, the Mudcats would have scored only three times.
Statistically, beyond Bounds’ efficient effectiveness, Chillicothe’s offense included three runs batted in each by Ludwick, who DHed, and Burgarello and three hits by Jack Cavanaugh, whose 3-for-4 performance lifted his batting average over .300 for the first time this summer. He finished the night batting .318.
While he had only one hit in four plate appearances, Luke Schwartz had a perfect night at the dish, drawing two walks and being hit by a pitch his other times in the batter’s box. He scored twice.